She’s back! And seriously considering what specialty she’ll pursue.
So enjoy this month’s blog and new chapter in her medical school journey to discover what’s influencing Molly Brazil to decide what kind of doctor she’ll become.
Scrubbed in at the foot of the bed, I felt like I was intruding on an intimate moment I had no place in. I tried to keep my eyes on the fetal heart monitor, making sure the baby wasn’t in any distress. With each contraction I turned my attention to the young woman in front of me, glistening with sweat, exhausted but determined to meet her baby boy. Her husband sat next to the bed, trying to provide support but looking completely overwhelmed by the entire situation.
While he was overwhelmed and at a loss for how to support his wife through an experience he couldn’t begin to imagine, I was overwhelmed by the thought of trying to assist in this woman’s delivery. I went through the cardinal movements of labor in my head, thinking back to the simulated deliveries I had done on models. The process seemed to take forever, until all of a sudden the baby was rocketing out toward me.
The miracle of life. I saw the movie in high school health class (which was a traumatic experience for me and my classmates), and I’ve always heard the various mother figures in my life talk about the beauty of it. My mom fondly recalls my birth as “one of the most amazing things [she has] ever done.” But childbirth was one of the most primal experiences I have ever witnessed. To me, the miracle is how human childbirth is even successful. It was hard not to focus on how many different ways the process can fail.
During my two weeks on the labor and delivery floor, every single woman tried to give up at some point. There was crying, raw emotion, pain, and so many bodily fluids. I will admit that at my first delivery, when I held the seconds-old baby in my hands I teared up, overwhelmed by the fact that 1) I didn’t drop the baby, and 2) Within a matter of seconds there was a new life in the room (okay, fine, maybe it is kind of a miracle).
However, it only took one delivery to prove to myself that I was not going to be an obstetrician. For starters, I was simultaneously terrified and horrified the entire time. But the thing that dissuaded me the most was that when a woman really truly needs an obstetrician (remember, women have delivered babies for thousands of years without a physician), it’s because things are going very poorly. Either the mom or the baby is at risk of death. In my unpopular opinion, the solutions we have are not elegant, and the associated morbidity is often very high.
All of that being said, I am so impressed by obstetricians (one told me her record for a crash C-section, from door to baby out of the belly, was 2 minutes), and so incredibly thankful for every person that chooses a career specializing in women’s health.